Police corruption is
defined as when police, in exercising or failing to exercise their authority
act with primary intention of furthering private or departmental / division
advantage. Police corruption is a big problem all around the world especially
in Russia. The Russian citizens have always been on alert when it comes to the
police because of the bad laws, failure of knowing there right as citizens, and
sticking up for there themselves. Russia is 133rd country out of 176 in the
corruption perception index. Russia is high on the list of corruption so what
really is going on in this country?
is a federal semi-presidential constitutional republic comprising of
eighty-five federal subjects. The capital of Russia is Moscow and the official
language is Russian. The population of Russia is over 143 million people.
Russia is one of the largest landmasses expanding over 6.6 million square
miles. This makes Russia a very big country to keep track of police enforcement
is important to keep track of the Russian citizens. Russian police is the
central law enforcement body in Russia. The police runs according to the Law of
Police, which has been approved by the Federal Assembly, which is the council
that helps pass the laws. The first police force in Russia was established 1718
in Petersburg which was known as the main police (Oleinik, 2003). Soon after
Moscow established there own police force they also founded a detective force.
Throughout time there have been many opposition that cause riot. February
Revolution was one of the riots caused by the opposition it was a fight between
the police and gendarmres, this was the last fight for the royal force of the
Russian monarchy (Oleinik, 2003). Which then started the official police force.
Corruption in Russia has
been a significant problem that has impacted many Russian citizen lives. Its
been estimated that the markets corruption has almost exceeded 260 million in
2006. Russian police institutions are far more centralized than the U.S. police,
which could mean that Russians’ views of the police are closely associated with
their views of other federal government institutions rather than their personal
experiences Corruption (Feifer, 2003). Russia corruption started around the
18th century when the government official would perform Kormlenie corruption,
which means authority receiving fees, goods, and services from interested areas
(Marenin, 1997). Since 1715 accepting a bribe in Russia was considered a crime.
Official started to abuse this power and started to receive fixed salaries. At
that time Peter the Great had increased so many fixed salaries that
irregularity and bribes where out of control especially for official. Even
official of lower rank were able to get these fix’s salaries. By 1922 bribery
was considered a counter- revolutionary activity was a criminal code punishable
The Bolshevicks established the Russian law enforcement called the militsiya.
They intended that their new laws would help enforce authority with having a
self-organization of the people to help with laws (Marenin, 1997). By 1917 the
official name of the workers was called the Peasant’s Militsiya . Then it was
renamed Ministry of Internal Affairs, which became the full name of the
milisiya force in the country. This force was known as the police for the
country and they were in control. The Russian police is controlled by the
federal law and inherited from the soviet police.
first problem in Russian police corruption is predatory policing which is when
an officer uses his or her own authority to advance their own materials
interest rather then fight crime to protect. This type of corruption has cause
the public to not trust the police or any other legal institution. Looking at
this we can conclude that there has been no clear model or guide for the
Russian police to follow. The police in Russia would rater protect themselves
then the public. There have been many cases where crimes have never been solved
including murders (Gerber & Mendelson, 2008). Police are rude and cruel and
very indifferent to the needs of the people. There have been many cases of
misconduct from Russia officers that doubt their ability to protect. Since the
police won’t protect the people whom can they turn to when they really need help?
This is especially hard for the lower class population of Russia because most
of time there ignored and abused because of their status. Most of the men that
join the police force are uneducated and uncultured. They join the police force
to try to assert themselves and have power. This is becoming a huge problem
because who is accepting people that don’t have a background in the police
force and what is there real purpose.
Another factor that has
caused a lot of corruption in policing is bribes which means to persuade or to
act in ones favor this also includes illegally by gift of money or other
inducement. Police demand bribes for minor infractions or shake down citizens
for cash ( Feifer 2003). One example was a woman who the police refused to
protect her and her family from a harasser because she didn’t give them a bribe
(Gerber & Mendelson, 2008). High-level MVD officials have been implicated
in investigations of organized crime activities, and there are numerous reports
of police involvement in protection and extortion rackets (Oleinik, 2003).
Which also includes the Russian mafia. Some of these organize crime from the
mafia are seen as usually buying off a traffic cop job and offering money and
they won’t disclose there location. This helps the Russian mafia buy sectors of
the law enforcement so it won’t cause them trouble in the future. Russian
police do engage in actions that protect the interests of elites and suppress
minorities: they harass ethnic minorities, police political protests, and investigate
political opposition `groups (Feifer, 2003)
In a focus group done by Theodore Gerber and Sarah Mendleson they asked Russian
participants if they had confidence in the police (Gerber & Mendelson,
2008). Most of them had negative things to say about the police force. One
person said that they had never seen an other branch violate as many human
rights as the militia. Some of the participant had witness a man getting beat
up until there were puddles of blood. The sad part about this is that most of
these violate action happen and in the end the people they beat up are left at
a hospital and most doctors that will witness this abuse will pretend that
nothing bad happen and give the Russian Police force positive remarks. These
examples show bad sides with police corruption but there are a good few men on
the force it just rare to find.
Most of these bribery’s that are conducted aren’t because all police in Russia
are evil. They solely do it to survive most police are underpaid. For them
committing crimes is just a way of living and they see it as the norm. Aleksei
Dymovsky was a former policeman for Russia who admitted on YouTube how police
accept bribes and commite other crimes, and how the government is doing nothing
reducing this corruption (Levy, 2010). The video of a former police officer in
Russia acknowledged that corruption does exist and how most of the time they
are payoff. He also mention how most of the upper level police and chief live a
life in luxury. After releasing this video Mr. Dymosvsky was fired and
integrated. Soon Russian police investigated his home and planted drugs and
accused him of fraud and was sent to jail and abused. All this man wanted was
to shed some light to what really goes on in the Russia. In the end he was
punished for expressing his freedom and committing no crime.
In March 1,2011 then president
Dmitry Medvedev passed the Russian police reform amendment to help improve the
Russian police force of corruption and improve its public image. First, it had
a name changed from milsitya to a more universal name of polisiaya (police.) It
also cut 20% of law enforcement and increased wage. This also includes
intensive screening and more background information for new candidates It also
made the Russian police a more federal-level intuition so they where able to
get a federal budget. (Bigg, 2011) This also include creating a new interacting
website where Russian citizen can rate, comment and ask question about there
local police. Last, the new law stated that detainees had a right to make a
call and also receive a lawyer and translator the moment there detained. After
the reform took place a poll held by the state had mix review 52 % trusted the
police, but a independent study done by Levada Center said 6% thought the force
improve while 75% saw no change (Bigg, 2011).
It might take more years to fix the corruption of Russia but from I can tell
they’re trying to improve their image as police. The only thing is time will
tell what these changes will bring especially with what going on currently with
Russia and the Ukraine will this make the situation worse or help establish a
honest police force.
Bigg, C. (2011, February 2011). Russian police force to change its name, but
not its ways. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved from
Feifer, G. (2003, November ). Russia: Police corruption chokes progress.
Russia: Police Corruption Chokes Progress. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Retrieved from http://www.rferl.org/features/2003/02/19022003164607
Gerber, T. P., & Mendelson, S. E. (2008). Public experiences of police
violence and corruption in contemporary russia: A case of predatory policing?.
Law and Society Review, 42(1), 1-43.
Levy, C. (2010, July 27). Videos rouse Russian anger toward police. The New
York Times. Retrieved from Videos Rouse Russian Anger Toward Police
Marenin, O. (1997). Policing soviet society: The evolution of state control.
Contemporary Sociology, 26(3), 332-343.
Oleinik, A. N. (2003). Organized crime, prison & post-soviet societies. (1
ed., p. 307). Aldershot, England : Ashgate